By Daniel Dunaief
Disclaimer: The following column is intended to provide a lighthearted response to the ongoing pandemic. In no way does it diminish or ignore the suffering or the unimaginable horror for people who have lost loved ones or who are on the front lines of the crisis. I continue to be grateful for all the help, support, and work everyone is doing to keep us safe, fed, and cared for (see last week’s column). This latest column, however, is designed to offer comic relief.
I was thinking about how life has changed in small, and largely insignificant ways. Please find below some “before coronavirus” and “after coronavirus” trivial differences for those of us fortunate enough to be inconvenienced and not irreparably harmed by the virus and when we’re not focused on the anxiety of shuttered businesses and lost income.
Where should we eat?
BC: Do you want to go to the Italian restaurant with the cool music and the frescoes on the wall, or the Chinese restaurant, with the incredible dumplings and the endless supply of hot tea?
AC: Should we go back to the kitchen, the dining room or the bedroom, where there are so many leftover crumbs that we could eat those for dinner without going to the refrigerator?
What should we wear?
BC: We could take the newly pressed suit that’s back from the dry cleaner, the slightly wrinkled suit that we wore a few days earlier, or the jeans and casual shirt that works on a casual Friday.
AC: We could take yesterday’s sweatpants, the ripped jeans that don’t smell too bad, or stay in the pajamas we wore to bed.
What should we do when we see people we know on the sidewalk?
BC: We slow our walk, smile, shake hands or hug and ask how they are doing.
AC: We run across the street, yell in their general direction and wave as we make the same joke we made the day before about the need for social distancing.
How do we start emails?
BC: We might dive right in, ask an important question or ease into it, hoping all is well.
AC: We often start emails by hoping the person we’re writing to and their family are safe.
How should we check on our college-age children?
BC: We can call them or FaceTime to see how they are doing and listen attentively as they share the excitement about school.
AC: We can call or FaceTime them from behind their locked door in our house and ask them how they are doing.
What do we do about the polarizing president?
BC: If we love him, we can find others who admire him. If we hate him, we can blame him for climate change, relaxing regulations, and changing the tone of discourse in Washington.
AC: If we love him, we can thank our lucky stars that he’s leading us and the economy out of this pandemic. If we hate him, we can blame him for our slow reaction and hold him to account for everything he and his administration haves said or didn’t say in connection with the COVIDcovid-19 response.
What do we do if someone sneezes?
BC: We offer a polite “God bless you” or, if we’re fans of “Seinfeld,” we say, “You are so good looking.”
AC: We drop anything we’re carrying and race across the room. When we’re a safe distance, we turn around scornfully, particularly if the person didn’t sneeze into anhis or her elbow.
What do we think is funny?
BC: We follow our own sense of humor, reserving the right to laugh only when we feel compelled.
AC: We look at a picture of Winnie-the- Pooh and Piglet. We see Winnie telling Piglet to “Back the f$#@$ off,” and we laugh and send it to everyone who won’t get in trouble for receiving an email in which someone curses, after we ask if they and their family are safe.